Who? – Everyone experiences fear! From around the age of 7 months we show signs of feeling fear. Poor little things not only experience fear, they tend to fear more than grownups and experience these fears to a greater degree. Don't downgrade the extent of the boogie man's scare power. Apparently, the middle child, too busy thinking 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia', experience less fear than their siblings do. But yes, we all experience fear, some of us even like it, some of us make a lot of money from it, think of the extreme sports industry and roller coasters!
What? – Fear is experienced on two levels, biochemical and emotional. The biochemical reaction is the one we don't control, it controls us. It's the sweating, increased heart rate, increased adrenaline levels, increased breathing rate that we feel in the first seconds of experiencing fear. This physical response is better known as 'fight or flight'; it is the body getting ready to fight for itself or to run for its life. It is what keeps us alive in sticky situations. Whether you need to fight or flee, your body will need all of its resources so it prepares by releasing hormones to cause changes to heart rate, digestive system, the nervous system and more. I must admit this part intrigues me and I will have more on this part later. The emotional side is personalised and differs from person to person. Think back to the adrenaline junkies who do crazy things just to feel fear. Then are those you will do anything to avoid it, and develop debilitating and prolonged phobias in response to experiencing fear. Again, there will be more on this later.
Where? – Your brain! Like almost everything else, it starts at the top. Your nervous system will release hormones that change your heart rate, that's why you feel it in your chest. Blood is diverted from where it is not needed to where it is (i.e.: your middle) which is why your hands go cold, the blood rushes from your face and you may even faint.
Why? – We have already touched on the why and why not? The why is tied into the what. When you are in situation that may cause you harm, your body reacts. It wakes itself up, dusts itself off and says 'right what's going on here?' Then it gets ready to survive. Whether that is to fight or to run, it will still result in a large effort and to put that effort in, the body does the previously mentioned hormone business. Keep in mind that fear is different to anxiety. Fear is the specific and sudden response to danger. Anxiety is often out of proportion to the threat perceived. And a phobia is the lasting effects of fear, not fear itself.
Well, that's all the basics done, I think. Class, any questions?